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Rare life-saving surgery at Rashid Hospital.

Dubai: Timely intervention and removal of a clot (mechanical thrombectomy) -- which is a rare surgery -- have helped a stroke patient from Saudi Arabia at the Rashid Hospital recover without major neurological damage within two days of surgery.

The lady, S.A., 50, a mother of six with a 10-year history of hypertension, was here for the Dubai Shopping Festival with her physician husband and family.

Narrating the turn of events that occurred, S.A.'s husband, Dr Fahd Abdul Karim, a gastroenterologist from Riyadh, said: "We had returned to our room in the hotel at around 5.30pm after shopping at the malls when my wife suddenly fell down. She had no movement in her right hand and leg and couldn't speak," he said. An ambulance was sent for and the patient reached the emergency at 7.30 pm where she was attended to by Dr Maria Khan, neurology specialist.

"The patient had no movement in the right limbs which meant she had damage to the left side of the brain. Time is of essence and if a stroke patient receives the help he or she needs in the first five or six hours, there is a chance to reverse the damage," she said.

Dr Khan ordered a CT scan and administered a thrombolytic agent (a decoagulant to dissolve the clot). When that was ineffective and a contrast CT scan revealed a massive clot in the brain, Dr Ayman Al Sibae, consultant interventional radiologist, conducted an angiography of the brain to mechanically remove the clot.

"Mechanical thrombectomy is a surgery available 24/7 for the last two years at our hospital, which is the only place in the entire region to offer this procedure," he said.

Involving perfect synergy between a team of neurologists and the surgeon, the procedure took less than an hour and the patient was free of the clot and blood supply was restored to her brain.

"All this was done within six hours and that was important. Our brain has 5 billiion cells. In case of a stroke like this the brain can lose up to 1.9 million cells per minute and, within a few hours, about 120 million cells. In the UAE alone nearly 7,000 stroke cases are reported every year and these range from minor to severe.

"In stroke cases I say time is brain. If you lose time you lose your brain cells. I advise patients to act immediately in case of stroke to save themselves from irreversible damage," Dr Sohail Al Rokn, neurologist and head of the stroke unit at Rashid Hospital, said.

Within 48 hours S.A. was able to move her arms, speak slowly and respond properly to her family, indicating that irreversible damage had been prevented. "The patient has made full recovery and will be discharged from the hospital within the next three days after which she will require three-six months of physiotherapy for complete rehabilitation," added Dr Al Sibae.

"My family cannot express the happiness and relief we feel at the manner in which the neurosurgeons managed the condition of my wife. I had full faith in the doctors and they have delivered a fantastic result," said an emotional Dr Abdul Karim, S.A.'s husband.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 22, 2015
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